Professionals are called experts for a reason. They know what they’re talking about. They’ve experienced failure and success, making them knowledgeable in their field. However, information quickly changes, making it irrelevant. But the ancient information found in the Bible is still relevant to us today. For instance, one of my favorite adages from the Old Testament is Ahab’s reply to Ben-hadad in 879 B.C.

And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off (1 Kings 20:11).


Though Ahab wasn’t exactly a role model, I like to keep that scripture in mind when starting a new project because it keeps me on my toes!

Biblical truths never become obsolete. So when I feel the thorns of discontentment, I turn to the epistles. Paul is at the top of my list for expert advice on staying balanced amid troubles and trials.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

Was Paul an expert, or was he a fly-by-night charlatan selling unconfirmed data? It’s easy to boast in things we know nothing about. Ben-hadad did. Of course, it’s a whole different matter when you’ve been initiated by experience. Let’s look at the word contented.

Contented: feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation


In Second Corinthians, we read Paul was beaten with rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked multiple times, and spent a day and night stranded in the sea. He suffered hunger, thirst, nudity, and cold. He was familiar with pain and fatigue. If anyone had the right to feel discontented with his situation, Paul did. But he didn’t complain. Instead, he told the Philippians that he’d learned contentment no matter his circumstances.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

I’m sure Paul would rather have been on the mission field than stuck in a Roman prison. But his mind and heart were content because he knew God’s grace was sufficient for his needs. He trusted God’s strength to carry him through it all.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:12-13).

Experience taught Paul contentment with God’s provision in the best of times and in the worst of times. He learned the dangers of judging his circumstances through his emotions and vision. Instead, he chose to think on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report …” 

I’ve never been beaten with Roman rods, stoned, shipwrecked, or stranded in the sea. Thank God! I am well acquainted with pain, weakness, and fatigue, however. I would prefer to be healthy, doing what I want to do. That sounds a little like self-will, but I mean it in the best way.

Unfortunately, I can’t fix me. I’m learning to focus more and more on Jesus and not on my issues. I’m also learning the difference between contentment with my circumstances and contentment due to God’s provision within my circumstances. We will never find contentment in difficult situations, but we can always find pleasure in God’s provision to see us through. Easy? You and I both know the answer to that question.

Contentment requires learning self-control by not allowing our thoughts to dwell on our circumstances but on things above. It also requires power. Therefore, we must draw our daily supply from God through Christ Jesus. Let us draw near to the Lord with thanksgiving, prayers, and supplications. In His strength, we will find contentment.

In His strength, I find contentment. #devotional #hope @GailJohnson87

Are you learning contentment? Want to learn more? Check out Paul’s letter to the Philippians.


The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

The first thing that comes to mind when reading David’s psalm is a picture of Christ hanging on a cross, his body bruised and bloody. Not exactly the peaceful scene in paintings of a shepherd holding a lamb in a lush meadow.

However, if you’ve spent time with animals, you understand my thoughts. There is a price one must pay for the privilege of owning sheep. They require patience, energy, and sacrifice. David’s psalm helps me understand the price the Good Shepherd paid for me.

Through the years, I’ve taken care of horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and hogs. And each one came with a price. For whether you buy, trade, or accept animals as gifts, you can bank on paying for that animal in blood, sweat, and tears.

Blood and sweat because caring for animals is a messy job. Your hands will become scarred and dirty in the process. Tears because caring for an animal while they are sick or dying is one of the hardest things an owner will ever do. Sooner or later, you will eventually give part of your life to and for that animal.

Another responsibility David spoke of in this psalm is guard duty. Shepherds must protect their sheep from parasites, disease, and predators.

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7

During good weather, shepherds kept their sheep in the countryside. A circle of rocks created a pen without a gate. The shepherd protected the sheep by stretching his body across the opening. What a beautiful depiction of his love and care for us.

I’m so glad the Lord is my Shepherd. How about you?

A Reason to Hope

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:12-13 KJV).

When reading the above scripture, one would think it is a hopeless situation. There is nothing hidden before God. We stand open and naked before Him. Our best effort of being good isn’t good enough. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. We need an Intercessor, for we are incapable of interceding for ourselves.

But, all is not lost. In fact, we have hope. There is One who’s perfect, and He alone paid the price for our sins. He alone is our Hope and Great High Priest. As children of God, we can approach His throne anytime day or night! It is at His throne we find mercy and grace!

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16 KJV).

I’m so glad He is our High Priest. He always knows what we’re going through, and He has made provisions for us. We can rest in peace knowing He has everything under control. Our circumstances doesn’t surprise Him because He holds tomorrow in His hands. And that my friend is a reason to hope!

Click to Tweet: I can rest in peace knowing He has everything under control. #hope #peace @GailJohnson87

I wouldn’t say my posts this year are full-length devotions. Instead, I’d like to refer to them as devotion prompts, something to get you started. If you’d like to read more about this subject, Hebrews is a great book to read more about our High Priest. The following scriptures are some of my favorites.

Hebrews 7:24-27

Hebrews 8:1-2

Hebrews 9:12

Hebrews 9:24

Hebrews 10:11-14

Hebrews 10:21-23

What nugget of hope have you found in the book of Hebrews?